Dr. Robert Satcher of Oak Park just took off on a trip around the world – actually many, many trips around the world. Satcher, 44, an orthopedist, is currently in space orbit on the International Space Station, fulfilling his childhood dream of space travel. [See profile of Satcher in Feb. 12, 2009 Austin Weekly News]

Satcher’s main job is to operate a robotic arm, used to fix parts on the station that need repairing or replacement. His surgical skills are expected to come in handy. He’ll also be monitoring the effects of weightlessness on bone density in addition to taking several spacewalks. Satcher, who became an astronaut in 2004, is the first orthopedic surgeon to go into space, and, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune on Monday, the third Northwestern School of Medicine grad to see Earth from above.

According to the Trib, you can read Satcher’s commentary about space travel at www.twitter.com/astro_bones.